Ideal Heating supports local business with apprenticeship

Ideal Heating has utilised part of its Apprenticeship Levy funding to sponsor an apprenticeship for Connor Docherty, an employee of business services provider Bell4Business, focusing on digital marketing. 

Ideal Heating empowers local talent and supports small businesses by investing in apprenticeship.

This apprenticeship contributes to 21-year-old Connor’s professional growth and facilitates Bell4Business’s expansion by offering additional services. 

Introduced by the UK Government in 2017, the Apprenticeship Levy mandates that companies with a yearly wage bill exceeding £3 million contribute 0.5% of their monthly pay bill as a levy tax. This levy can be reinvested into the company’s workforce through apprenticeship training, with unused funds expiring and needing to be returned to the Government after 24 months. 

However, it’s less known that companies also have the option to transfer a percentage of unspent funds to SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) to support other businesses. Ideal Heating, headquartered in Hull and owned by Groupe Atlantic, has committed to transferring up to £25,000 of its annual levy funding to nurture local talent. 

A portion of this funding has been allocated to enable office administrator Connor to pursue a Level 3 Digital Marketing Apprenticeship, acquire new skills, and attain a higher-level qualification. 

The 15-month apprenticeship program is delivered by Hull Business Training Centre (HBTC), with the Hull and East Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (HEY LEP) facilitating the collaboration between Ideal Heating, Bell4Business, and HBTC through its Business Growth Hub. 

Investing in the local area

Maria Cunningham, HR advisor – development at Ideal Heating, which currently has 27 apprentices across the business, including four who were recruited in September, said: “As a major employer in Hull, we wanted to give something back and support a small independent business that doesn’t have access to the same level of funding we do. 

“It’s really important to us to invest in the local area, to address collective skills needs while helping develop the future talent pool. 

“Digitalisation is a key priority for us, so it makes sense for us to invest in the development of skills in this area locally, and we’re delighted to be able to support Connor and Bell4Business.” 

It is the first time Ideal Heating has transferred levy funds working in partnership with the LEP. It now hopes to support other similar transfers on a case-by-case basis in areas such as digital, creative and design, and engineering and manufacturing. 

Connor’s apprenticeship covers SEO (search engine optimisation), digital advertising and analytics.  

He said: “I’m so grateful to Ideal Heating for funding this training. I only began the programme recently, but I’ve already learned so much, building upon all the knowledge and experience I have gained in the business and working with our clients over the past five years. 

Essential support

“I’ll be able to make use of what I learn to benefit the business and it’s also absolutely brilliant for my own career development.” 

Louise Bell, owner of Bell4Business, based in Hessle, East Yorkshire, which offers outsourced office services including general admin, telephone answering and marketing, said: “Connor joined us when he was only 16 and he’s done fantastically well, becoming a key person in the business, with his own clients. 

“This new programme will support the next stage of Connor’s development. It will also mean we’ll be able to offer additional digital services, grow as a business and hopefully take on more staff. Support like this is essential for a business such as ours and I’m incredibly grateful to Ideal Heating.”